Talent Edge Weekly - Issue #221

Talent and workforce topics prioritized by the Board, pay equity, ROI of upskilling, CEO and CHRO priorities, and GenAI.


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Below is a glance at this week’s content. A deep dive follows.

Also, check out the job cuts tracker & Chief HR Officer hire of the week.

Let’s dive in. ⬇️



Insights into which talent and workforce-related topics boards are prioritizing. I share a bonus resource.

Many organizations' boards of directors are increasingly exercising closer oversight of talent and workforce-related topics. To understand how boards are approaching these issues, the Deloitte Global Boardroom Program conducted a survey involving nearly 500 board members and C-suite executives in over 50 countries, spanning various industries and company sizes. Key findings reveal that 1) only 36% of respondents believe the conversations within the board are sufficient to fully explore the talent agenda, indicating a gap between what boards know and what they feel they need to know. 2) The top two talent and workforce-related priorities of boards are: a) aligning workforce-related investments with strategic priorities and b) maximizing benefits through the integration of technology and the workforce—both tied at 42%; c) building a resilient pipeline of talent for top leadership closely follows at 40%. When assessing workforce-related risks impacting organizational performance, 78% of respondents highlight skills and talent availability as the top risk. Although addressing standalone talent and workforce topics is crucial, Chief HR Officers must integrate interconnected workplace topics into an overall talent narrative. With this in mind, I am resharing The Conference Board’s report, Telling the Human Capital Management Story. This 20-page report includes ideas on how to communicate and tailor the messages of an organization’s talent narrative to different stakeholder groups while still drawing from a single source of truth.


How a pay equity analysis can help uncover systematic biases in an organization’s salary structure.

Pay equity—equal pay for team members performing “similar” job duties while factoring in variables such as experience, job performance, and tenure— remains a critical concern for many organizations. To enhance pay equity, several states and localities have implemented legislation stressing pay transparency in job advertisements, where employers disclose the wage scale or salary range. While these initiatives signify progress, this new article emphasizes how a structured pay equity analysis can help to close pay gaps. Unlike approaches focusing solely on underpaid employees, a pay equity analysis considers qualifications and responsibilities, addressing systematic biases and pinpointing specific areas within a company's salary structure causing pay gaps; the article details this process. I posit that another factor contributing to pay inequities lies in performance management (PM) practices. Given that many organizations tie pay rewards to performance ratings or other indicators of performance, ineffective PM practices can significantly impact pay equity. One example lies in the goal-setting process, where goals may not be uniformly challenging across team members, resulting in lenient evaluations for some and stricter ones for others. Addressing pay equity requires organizations to analyze how their PM practices either support or detract from equitable compensation.


A three-step approach to assist companies in better evaluating the "return on learning investment" (ROLI).

Numerous organizations are reskilling and upskilling their workforce. Given the substantial time, resources, and financial investments involved in these initiatives, it is imperative to pinpoint reliable measures for assessing the business impact of these efforts. However, organizations often struggle to find effective ways to gauge the effectiveness of their upskilling initiatives. This article proposes a three-step approach to assist companies in better evaluating the "return on learning investment" (ROLI) of upskilling and reskilling. The suggested steps include: 1) Clearly define upfront the business outcomes or impact they intend to achieve; 2) establish metrics to hold the program accountable and measure progress; and 3) determine whether the desired impact has been realized. Exhibit 1 showcases various metrics for assessing the impact of learning programs. When defining metrics and timeframes, it is crucial to be realistic about when the impact is expected. As noted in the article, improvements may not be apparent until year-end or later when reviewing key performance indicators (KPIs). Alongside developing “end state” metrics, I recommend incorporating "mini indicators" that would help measure directional progress throughout shorter intervals (e.g., months 1-2, 3-6, 9, etc). This approach provides an ongoing measure of progress while acknowledging that the true impact might take a longer duration to manifest.


A 29-minute podcast episode to discuss the talent implications of The Conference Board’s C-Suite Outlook 2024 report.

Page 22 of the referenced report.

I recently shared The Conference Board C-Suite Outlook 2024 report, providing an overview of the challenges and opportunities facing the world’s top business leaders, along with their strategies for addressing them. In a new 29-minute podcast episode of CEO Perspectives, Diana Scott, Center Leader of the US Human Capital Center and former Chief HR Officer of several companies, joins President and CEO Steve Odland, both of The Conference Board, to discuss the results and their implications for human capital. One priority discussed is attracting and retaining talent. Diana notes that while this priority is not new, the approaches to attract and retain talent may look different due to various converging factors, including the economic climate, labor shortages, high labor costs, low unemployment, changing demographics (e.g., baby boomers leaving the workforce), remote work, and rapid technological advancements, to name a few. Other priorities are discussed. As HR practitioners source talent to meet their organizations’ talent needs, I'm resharing an i4cp article with an infographic on 11 talent sources. Beyond talent sources, I also recommend that organizations identify opportunities to offload work tasks to AI when AI is the optimal choice. This approach helps firms reallocate their workforce's capacity for tasks better suited for humans.


A new report on how GenAI will impact industries, companies, and jobs; shares questions organizations should be asking in response.

The Burning Glass Institute, in partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), has just released a 26-page report on how GenAI will impact industries, companies, and jobs and how it will reshape the economy. Utilizing data points from the report (e.g., industries, roles, etc.), HR can work with business leaders to ask and answer questions such as: 1) What is our level of exposure to GenAI based on our industry and occupations? 2) How might these roles be automated, augmented, or transformed via GenAI? 3) For each role, how can we prepare workers for these changes? What learning and development investments can we make to build workers’ skills in areas that will rise in importance as GenAI adoption accelerates? 4) How might GenAI affect talent shortages or surpluses in our markets of interest? In categorizing the level of impact of GenAI on jobs, the three definitions provided on page 8 include: 1) Jobs are Automated: Roles that either do not require expertise or heavily involve tasks that GenAI can do effectively today, 2) Jobs are Augmented: Roles that require substantial expertise but still involve several AI-enhanced tasks or AI-driven productivity gains. 3) Jobs are Transformed: Roles whose new unit economics allow for a complete reimagination of the job description. Another resource for categorizing four impacts AI can have on jobs and work tasks is the Deloitte AI Institute’s report, Generative AI and the Future of Work. 


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In my 2016 article, Linking Talent Strategy with Business Strategy, I wrote about the critical importance of creating a talent strategy that aligns with and enables an organization’s business strategy. While the concept of linking the two may seem straightforward, the execution is often challenging. Here are three editable worksheets for helping to draw a tighter connection between business strategy, talent needs, and talent actions.


Check out my tracker of announcements from a segment of organizations that have conducted job cuts and layoffs since the start of 2023.

Partial view of tracker on brianheger.com

A few job cuts announced this past week:

  • Paypal (NASDAQ: PYPL). Is planning to cut ~2,500 jobs or 9% of its global workforce, in an effort to ‘right-size’ the company through both direct cuts and the elimination of open roles throughout the year.

  • UPS (NYSE: UPS). Will cut roughly 12,000 non-union jobs following a year-over-year decline in revenue. The workforce reduction is part of an effort to save the company nearly $1 billion. Managers and contractor positions will make up most of the layoffs.

  • Zoom (NASDAQ: ZM). The firm is cutting about 150 jobs or close to 2% of its workforce. The company notes that it will continue hiring for positions related to artificial intelligence (AI), sales and engineering.

Click here to access all listed announcements.


Fanatics Commerce (NEW YORK, NEW YORK)—a leading global digital sports platform—has appointed Valerie Love as Chief People Officer. Love was previously SVP of Human Resources at The Coca-Cola Company and has also held human resources leadership positions at Johnson & Johnson, Tyco Integrated Security, and General Motors. She will be based out of Fanatics’ Jacksonville, Florida. ​​

Valerie Love

If you want access to +3500 (and growing) detailed announcements of CHROs hired, promoted, and resigning, join CHROs on the Go—a one-stop-shop for knowing who is moving in and out of the Chief HR Officer role.

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This article by Rob Cross and Karen Dillon—authors of the book, The Microstress Effect: How Little Things Pile Up and Create Big Problems–and What to Do About It (April 18, 2023)—share ideas for identifying and mitigating microstressors in organizations. They define microstressors as “individual stressors that seem manageable at the moment, but they accrue, and they can create ripple effects of secondary and sometimes tertiary consequences that can last for hours or days — and even trigger microstress in others.” The accumulation of these unnoticed small events ultimately affects employee wellbeing. The article also references a diagnostic to determine which of the 14 microstressors might be part of the work environment.


Did you miss the “Best of January” issue of Talent Edge Weekly? If so, check out issue #220, which includes 18 of the most popular resources from the month. You can also access this issue on LinkedIn and share it with others.


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Talent Edge Weekly is written by Brian Heger, an internal human resources practitioner. You can connect with Brian on Linkedin, X, and brianheger.com